Fashion in 1989 was on jackets as the staple of most women’s wardrobes. Linen, wool and silk were the fabrics of choice. Several designers wanted smaller shoulder pads. Jackets varied in almost every design: ranging from short and swingy to long enough to be worn with stretch pants. Designers once again created clothes that faithfully followed the lines of the body. Popular colors in 1989 were plums, gold and bright wines. Animal prints were also a popular choice for women. Dresses and skirts could be any length, either stopping inches above the knee or plunging all the way to the ankles. Coats made of cloth and fake fur received a sales boost thanks to animal-rights activists who urged women not to buy the real thing.
Christian Lacroix settled down to a more standard style in 1989. He worked to establish ready-to-wear fashions to complement his flamboyant made-to-order styles. Designers in the U.S. had a very successful year 1989. Donna Karen’s sexy interpretations of American sportswear and her DKNY collection of casual weekend clothes were a huge hit both in the U.S. and Europe. Calvin Kline and Ralph Lauren both had very good year and were capturing more overseas business daily. Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta were the top evening wear designers.
In May, Dior chose Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre to design both its couture and ready-to-wear collections. Ferre replaced Marc Bohan, who had been with Dior since 1960. Fendi, the Roman fashion house best known for the fur coats, released reversible coats that could be worn either leather side out or fur side out. The coats were made without linings.